Overall grade: A-
Tenaciously drove his four core issues (change, unity, inspiration, problem solving), and incorporated them into almost every answer. Wisely did not revel in his palpable popularity with the theater's liberal audience, lest he appear ungallant (yet again). Managed to project natural confidence without veering into smug conceit. Seemed far less intimidated by Clinton than in past debates, reflecting what friends say is a growing assurance that he will and should win the nomination and the presidency. Bottom line: Contributed to the dignified tone and frictionless flow that discouraged media melodrama and headlines beyond the much-discussed historical nature of the event itself, and proved himself able to face his fellow frontrunner and make his case for the job.